IMG_5385Although it doesn’t sound like the most appealing job in the world, housebreaking a new puppy will play an important part in bonding with the newest member of your family. It will teach you patience and leave you with a better understanding of what your puppy wants once he has learned. In addition, he will learn acceptable behaviors and exactly what is expected of him to live happily and comfortably in his new home.

It’s important to remember that, just like a small child, a puppy’s attention span is very short. When you teach a young child not to hit, he likely won’t learn the lesson the first time, but instead, gradually after you’ve shown him repeatedly that it’s not okay. Similarly, you will have to be consistent with your dog when training him. Also, when housebreaking your puppy, keep in mind that he is not intentionally being a bad dog; he just has not yet learned what behaviors are acceptable!

Start housebreaking your puppy with a simple feeding schedule. Give him breakfast, lunch and dinner, just as you would yourself. By doing this you will be helping him become regular with his bowel movements. Once he has eaten, wait 20-30 minutes and then take him outside. Watch how long it takes before he is able to void. This will give you an idea of how long to wait the next time you take him out. (Within about a week, you should have his schedule down.) Try to never let him eat at free will, leaving food in his bowl all day, because it will cause him to have accidents and make housetraining all that much more difficult.

Despite the old rules of training a puppy, you should never hit, rub his nose in his messes, or yell at your puppy. By doing this, you are telling him it is bad to relieve himself at all! In addition, most dogs respond negatively to aggressive and mean behavior and it has the opposite effect—they regress in their training rather than advance. Instead, while housebreaking your puppy take him straight outside when he has an accident. In addition, don’t forget the praise! Every time he “goes” where he’s supposed to, praise him lavishly, and soon he will begin to understand exactly what brings praise, and what brings that disappointed face. During the process, don’t forget that full control of the bladder and bowels won’t happen until 16 weeks of age, so don’t expect too much from your puppy in the beginning.

Also helpful in housebreaking a new puppy is to buy a stain remover/ odor relief spray. Household cleaners and sprays cannot be smelled by dogs; only those made for animals will work. When an accident happens, clean the mess and spray immediately. This will cover the odor left and your puppy will not try to mark his territory there again.

Remember that housebreaking a puppy is a big responsibility that can lead to you and your puppy sharing a special bond. Giving encouragement and lots of love will make all the time spent worth your while!